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Fishing Inlets in the Spring Time

Fishing Inlets in the Spring Time Fishing Inlets in the Spring Time
By Jim Hammond

In the Spring, almost of the waters come alive as the bait hatch has happened and is moving north. The great thing about spring time is the variety of fish that pass through the inlets in search of something of the schools of newly hatched bait.

This past week I have seen an array of species at the Mayport Inlet (St. Johns River Inlet). There has been Spanish, Blues, Trout, Reds, Jacks, Sheepshead, Flounder and even one of the rarest of them all, a Mola Mola (Sunfish).

I know that all of you have had the same experience that I have in trying to get Mr. Fish to eat your bait. Here, is a way to be prepared for all of the finicky feeders passing through now.

When there are so many species to target, it is hard to decide what fish to target. When this happens, I try to cover as many bases as possible.

To cover all of the bases, you must have a large tackle box or a bunch of Plano 3700 or 3600 tackle trays. I like to bring two or three Plano soft bags full of their tackle trays, each with a different type of lure. I also like to have as many rods of all sizes and styles on board.

I usually tie on several types of lures before I leave the dock, so when something comes close to the boat, I am ready with a rod and bait to appeal to that fish.

The old stand bye is the seven foot long Ugly Stik spinning rod with an Intrepid SS 3840 spooled with 20 pound test PowerPro and a 2 foot long 30 pound test monofilament leader with a large Clark Spoon tied to the leader. This outfit will allow you to make the long cast, that are necessary for some species and with the PowerPro on the spool, you can load enough line to do battle with even the largest Jack that might come your way.

Other baits that I always have tied on, are the MirrOlure 52M Lipped bait (mullet imitation) and the MirrOlure 33MR-21 (excellent pogy imitation). Both of these lures are heavy enough to cast a long distance and both will sink to the depths that the predators are cruising.

I always have a 3/4 ounce Jaw Jacker lead head jig with a 4 to 6 inch long curly tail rubber bait in white, chartreuse or silver, tied on and ready for battle. The lead head jig can be worked several ways to produce catches of most everything out there.

One bait that will catch most everything that swims is the Gotcha. This is a lead head shinny metal lure that when retrieved will dart and dive like an injured bait fish and has enough flash to get most every fishes attention. I like the 1/4 or 1/2 ounce with a red or chartreuse head.

Last but by far not least, for those that wish to troll is the Sea Striker #1 planner (paint it black) with the Clark Spoon in 00 or 0 size (with the red bead), behind it about 4 to 5 feet.

Now that your guns are loaded, here is the way I like to fish the Inlets in the Spring.

As you know there are some mighty fine eating Spanish out there now, so I like to troll the planners and Clark Spoons until I get enough Spanish for dinner. By then, most of the other fish are awake and ready to play. I then pull in the planner rigs and ease along looking for the other schools.

When you see birds diving or explosions on the surface, there is your target. Pick out the lure that you think will produce and toss it in the action. Give it a few seconds to sink and start your retrieve back to the boat or, on your way to a HOOK UP.

Most of these fish swim very fast and hit the bait on the run, so when you feel the strike, he is usually on the hook. Now, you should know just what to do from here.

If that bait works then you are on your way to a great day. If you have made several cast in the thick of things, with no results, then put that bait down and throw another style. Before long you will find the right combination, then you have better eaten your Wheaties.

For us big strong types, it is okay to let everyone in the boat have a go at those big Jacks. I know that after I have done battle with one of those trains, I don't mind handing the rod off to someone with a fresh arm, midway through the battle.

A real productive place to look for these feisty fish are in the rips at the end of the jetties or on the edge of any eddies or color changes.

Now for some local reports: The offshore bottom boats are having banner catches of Tuna and Wahoo with a few Marlin mixed in with some snapper and grouper.

I think the cobia run, came and went.

The inshore waters are full of trout, flounder and reds. The inlets are full of spanish, blues, jacks, reds, sheepshead and whiting.

Visit Jim at his web site, or drop him an email at [email protected]

Jim Hammond

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